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The Pope's Painful Liturgies Comments

The "good stuff" of Catholic liturgy hasn't really lacked much in the new pope's Masses. But his overwhelming affection for service can be a bittersweet reminder of what's really at stake. Continue Reading

1 - 10 of 26 Comments

  1. robert matzinger
    1 year ago

    Although our "new" Holy Father approach and his presentation of the Holy Mass may be different than our previous Holy Father, we must always keep in mind that he is guided by the Holy Spirit. And as such, it is up to us to accept and learn to understand the beauty that Pope Francis I brings us in his manner of the celebration of our Holy Sacrements.

  2. Clem Pinto
    1 year ago

    Gabriella, I liked and agree with your comments.

  3. Paul-Emile Leray
    1 year ago

    There is splendor in simplicity. When the filter is kept clean, the artesian well flows in a more unobstructed manner.
    Paul-Emile Leray

  4. John
    1 year ago

    @mike: "The liturgy means nothing - without Love of our Crucified Savior; we need to keep the focus on Him, and not acts, and trappings." The Catholic Mass is intensely scriptural, particularly tracking the divine liturgy in Revelation. (See, e.g., Scott Hahn, The Lamb's Supper). It is a serious matter to tamper with it. It developed over millenia. It is divinely inspired and ordained. These "trappings" in many instances affect the senses fide, the sense of the faithful, who may not be biblical scholars but can feel in their bones the connection between the ancient and timeless liturgical rites and theological truth.

  5. DLL
    1 year ago

    The Mass is a liturgy of the word and a sacrifice of the Mass. The liturgy helps us to appreciate the sacrifice. The Mass is supposed to be perfect prayer. The adornments used are used to accentuate the meanings of the liturgy and of the sacrifice. Mind and body,or the sensations of a presence of extreme reverence for the Holy Trinity,is the intent of the Catholic Mass experience. We are meant to be engaged to God in reverence so as to learn how to love and serve each other,to be constructive members of a society that often times is in opposition to Christian teachings. Living the Faith is evangelisation. The name Francis implies living the faith and when necessary use words. The name Benedict is for living the faith at work and to have a life of prayer,so that prayer is a source for asking God that in all one does they will not lose a focus on Christ. Ether way the way to God is to be one with God and for all followers, to be of one mind in Christ,and obedient through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is what all share and take with them from Mass so that they can love and serve each other and the whole world. To understand theology and the Eucharist is essential but not all do to the same degree. To be at each and every Mass as often as possible never missing Sunday Mass is desire. Now in what we truly desire is where God meets us if our hearts are in the right place. Everyone has a different kind of spirituality including Popes,all valid,because God meets us where we are at. Popes and people of faith can not compared to each other all have been given special and unique gifts. Though spirituality may be experienced differently all are still one mind in Christ. All can agree more than they can disagree because the to be Christlike is the goal of the affirmation of a saint,not of the confirmed,comfortable sinner.God is all in all for the saint. The confirmed sinner gladly rejects God.

  6. Robert Nicodemo
    1 year ago

    Dear Mr Haines,

    Truly, it is very apparent that his approach to the Mass is quite minimalist, and for a Roman it gives you a sense of "something lacking". This is however way intriguing in somebody like him, who does know that intimate the Oriental Rite, which is so rich, and so full of devotion, reverence, and mystery.
    On the other hand, to say for example that he "bows profoundly" like Orientals, where for a Roman the gesture is necessarily kneeling, is a poor understanding of what a Liturgical Tradition is. I do prefer to think, as a EWTN commentator speculated that, "should be some sort of problem on a knee", in which case is more than understandable. He looks youthful in front of BXVI, but he is 77 y.o. already, and anyone 50 y.o. and up could easily present more than one sign of joint dysfunction.
    In any event, a Mass celebrated by BXVI will always give you that sense of the transcendence, which is so essential to penetrate in the meaning of the Liturgy as the Heavens on the Earth, and not merely as and space for a great reunion, or an excellent homily for example.
    I do think however, that each papacy has its proper mark to make, and maybe Liturgy will not be that one for pope Francis. Now, as far as the authentic Ecumenism is concerned, which is that among the Apostolic Churches, like Orthodox, and Catholics, he will gain his greatest marks. And, only for that he will be one of the greatest popes, I reckon.

  7. Joe
    1 year ago

    I would 2nd Janine's comments. Remember Christ himself is present at all masses, regardless of who celebrates it.

  8. Janine
    1 year ago

    If the only reason Mr. Haines attends Mass is to critique the celebrant, then he needs to find another reason to attend. He reminds me of the people who switch parishes because they "don't like the new priest." Attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to worship and adore God. The world, and the Church, have negativity thrust upon them every day. If you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem.

  9. Peter Wolczuk
    1 year ago

    First of all, on the part of the comment of MJM2000, "both-and" sort of thing
    This seems, to me, to be more of an acknowledgement of God's infinite nature than a leap to "either or" as if to dismiss the infinite, so as to avoid uncomfortable facts. The infinite is a very uncomfortable thing which we probably cannot understand but, acceptance may be possible if we dare to be uncomfortable; similar to the athlete who is uncomfortable during training and, thereby, finishes the event. Not just refering to the three who place but, to those who reach the finish line. Many of the one's who don't face the uncomfortable parts of training will drop out. When it comes to Salvation I'm not too concerned about getting gold, silver or, even, bronze - but mainly to reach the goal of Salvation.
    At any rate, about the "painful" things we see. Are they painful because we see a definite wrongness or, are they painful because they call attention to suppressed, and uncomfortable, truth? I strive to maintain enough humility to continue to admit that I don't know whatever it is that I don't know; such as the purpose of the Pope's manner of celebrating Mass.
    What I do see is a possible comparison to my participation in Alcoholics Anonymous, which the two founding members seem to have begun on a Protestant and non-denominational basis. They did, however, have a spiritual mentor in the person of Father Edward Dowling S.J. (another Jesuit) who contributed to the success of the program which has brought many of us sick and sinful people to the Physician mentioned in Matthew 9:12.
    At first I worked the easy parts of the spiritual approach to recovery and shied away from the uncomfortable nature of the Tweve Steps. The result was that I went from job and housing slighty at risk to being unemployed, unemployable, homeless, forty pounds underweight and in constant pain from dificiency disease.
    Checking into detox and rehab I began to work the Twelve Steps but, in a comfortable manner so that; the emotional and spiritual pain, which I had nearly killed myself to hide from, continued to take me back to the numbing experience of the wordly distractions of any substance which would help me avoid truth.
    Finally, with a stub of a pencil and a piece of paper towel from a washroom dispenser, I began to write the Steps out in an uncomfortable manner. This proved impossible for me to go it alone so, I asked for help and emotional support from senior members who had been through the process. Members who would not spare themselves from, the shame of who they had been and what they had done, in order to help a struggling novice.
    The obsesssions and compulsions faded as I finally fulfilled my desire of many years to regularly attend church and seek and accept God's healing Graces.
    Now, as I continue to work the Twelve Steps, I look for the most uncomfortable things to write into my Step work and to share with my spiritual friend who serves as God's secretary (as we sometimes call it) so that we may both learn and heal from the things which we hid from, in a suicidal manner.
    So, if anyone wants to attract me to Pope Francis' ways and to make me seek them - tell me that these ways are uncomfortable, painful, whatever unpleasant things lead to me opening the old wounds and experiencing the pain of draining out the old festering poisons. Jeremiah 6:14 and Jeremiah 8:11 - mentioned twice, perhaps to demonstrate its importance. Then, also, Isaiah 53:5.
    I will, however, admit that some painful things are not good for us and seek to scrutinize, with humility, in order to find the truth which will set us free from slavery to sin. John 8:31-34
    As for the term, "God's secretary" we try to see it as a humble attempt overcome grandiose desires as to seek a fancy office at the top of an ostentatious office building and, instead, share truth and honest in the rough cabin of a surplus naval vessel. Want an important job? Blue jeans, t shirt and old sneakers work just fine here.

  10. Gabriella
    1 year ago

    I believe that the election of the Holy Father is the work of the Holy Spirit - hence the surprise at the election of Pope Francis. Since he is good for the Holy Spirit to lead the Church, he is good enough for me, as well. The Last Supper, I am certain, was void of any and every decoration. That does not mean we need to do the same but calling the Mass execution 'painful' indicates our dependency on the visual and less on the spiritual. Let us stop judging the book by the cover, rather, let us read it, immerse ourselves in it and appreciate it.
    The Holy Father has enough enemies without us, his sheep, adding to his problems. The Holy Spirit considered Francis the best candidate for the Chair of Peter so who am I to judge?
    Pope Francis is a humble, simple man, elevated to the position of the representative of Christ on this Earth and thus, he is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and so who are we to judge any of it? Only God can read our hearts and God knows our hearts better than we, ourselves, do. We need a unity now, so let us put aside the petty bickering as it may lead us away from our beautiful, Holy Faith. The Devil never sleeps and there is nothing more pleasing to him than see us, the followers of Christ, bicker and judge. God bless.


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